The Shout Out Louds brings ‘House’ music to Boston tour stop

In their two decades as a band, the Swedish quintet the Shout Out Louds have perfected a blend of soaring pop melodies with haunting, melancholy undertones. And yes, there is something especially Swedish about that.

“I think every Swedish band has some ABBA in them somewhere,” singer/guitarist Adam Olenius said this week. “They have all those melodies, but there’s something bittersweet in them — I always liked that. If you look at this band, we’re not a depressing bunch. But I’ve always been drawn to the melancholy; I’m sure that came straight to me when I started writing songs and the band got together. I love that line between something sounding sad, and there being some hope– If you listen to the (Beach Boys’) Pet Sounds album, those songs are beautiful but really sad, too. And that comes naturally to me when I start putting words down — I have a problem writing happy songs.”

The band is now on its first US tour since 2017, which wraps up Wednesday May 18 at Brighton Music Hall. They’ll have a new album, “House” to draw from. One interesting thing about the album is that it sounds like explicitly about the pandemic– the first single, “As Far Away as Possible,” voices a familiar shutdown sentiment — yet it was all written and recorded beforehand.

“I was Nostradamus on that one,” Olenius said. “And it’s weird, because the only theme we had for the album was that we wanted it to be very local. When we were rehearsing, we started thinking about the walks we took to the studio, the walks with our kids, going to the bar and living in the little bubble we were in. I usually write about traveling, so this time I tried to focus on the space around me.”

In fact, the album makes the place sound rather inviting — so why the need to get far away? “Maybe I wrote that on a dark Swedish winter day. But it wasn’t so much about me personally, just a mix of friends around me who aren’t happy where they are. You can love the city where you live, but you’ll always know a lot of dreamers.”

Often pegged as an ‘80s inspired band, the Shout Out Louds played into that with the cover art for “House,” styled after a vintage cassette. “Bjorn [their producer Bjorn Yitting, of the group Peter Bjorn & John] actually found his old Sade cassette, so we used that even though it’s a different kind of music. It seemed to suit the album, since we wanted to make it more raw, with every instrument having its own space.” One of the singles, “High as a Kite,” also has a familiar ring, since the guitar intro is notably Cars-like. “I do love that band, but I hadn’t thought of that,” Olenius said. “To me it sounds more like an indie-pop band trying to be AC/DC.”

He said there’s a payoff to keeping the same lineup together for 20 years. “We’re probably faster in our decisions, and more clear about what we want. And after the last two years, we know that we can get through stuff. We’re doing smaller clubs on this tour, but everyone’s excited to be out again. But we were also good friends before the band, so in a way nothing has really changed.”

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